Sunday, August 14, 2016


On August 23rd,1926 a baby was born to a family in southern Minnesota. Her parents named her Marjorie Joyce. She was the first girl in a family of boys. Nearly two decades later she would meet and marry a young man named Robert (Bob) and a few years after that they would have a daughter named Marcia, who would grow up and meet and marry a young name named Doug, and a couple years later they would have a daughter named Shana . . . and that daughter is me!

singing in the choir

My wonderful grandma turns 90 this month. We celebrated her birthday with a fabulous party over the weekend. She has meant so much to so many people over the years . . . and about 75 of them came to celebrate her birthday with her. 2 of her children, 2 of her grandchildren, 9 of her great-grandchildren, a couple nieces and nephews, many friends made many different ways (neighbors, church friends, current and former piano students, and people with whom she has worked and volunteered). Near the end of the party we had a short program. Kirby spoke a bit, the 2 little girls played the piano. Joey played his bells. She enjoyed the party and was thankful for each person who took the time to come and celebrate with her.

4 generations serving at Feed my Starving Children

Fletcher/Carlson/Stoll girls

My grandma has been a significant person in my life for all my years. From the time that I was 12 until I was 18, my grandparents lived in our house with us. Nearly every Saturday morning I would wander downstairs to their apartment after waking up and my grandma would make me waffles and fried potatoes (She gave me the waffle maker that she used to make all those waffles -- hundreds of them! -- as a wedding gift). I remember loving her my entire life, but those years of living in the same house made us closer than I think most kids are with their grandparents (although my kids are very close to their grandparents, too, and none of them live in our house with us). I know that my grandma prays for me every single day. What a blessing that is! My kids know (and love) her well. Although I met a few of my great-grandparents, I never really had much of a relationship with any of them. My kids have a meaningful, significant relationship with their great-grandma and for that I am so very thankful. I am so glad for each memory that they can make with her. We attend the same church as she does, and have 4 generations of our family worshipping together every single Sunday morning. I do not take that fact for granted, as I believe it to be a very special (and rare!) experience! My kids take (or have taken) piano lessons from her. My kids have spent one-on-one time with her and even slept over at her apartment with her. (Anna once got 48 solid hours of one-on-one time with her . . . and that's a pretty big deal, if you ask me! Those two have an extra-special bond!)

This is a blanket that my grandma made for us when I was a child
and now it is draped over my couch and my children (another
generation) snuggle up with it when the curl up on the couch.

My grandma has not had an easy life by any standard you might use. She lost a sibling while he was still young. She lost her first daughter when she was only 7 years old. She lost her husband just shy of their 50th anniversary. She has had many struggles. But she is a woman of extraordinary faith. She spoke a bit (very eloquently -- I did NOT inherit that ability) at her party about her life and the fact that "Trust and Obey" is her favorite hymn and the anthem of her life. Then she proceeded to play it for us on the piano. (It may not surprise you to know that I would have been singing along, if not for the fact that I was crying.)
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do HIs good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey. 
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sign or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey. 
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey. 
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey. 
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He send we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
I am very thankful for the legacy that she has left (and is still leaving) to me and to my children. She is an amazing, talented women and I feel blessed to be her granddaughter.

The birthday girl with our family at the party